How to “Content Differently”?

Over the years with changing market scenarios, most companies today have started investing in content marketing. However, what most companies miss out on, is to set a trend and not merely follow the ongoing trend. The recipe to content production sounds simple, all you got to do is find a few writers, find a few topics and write. Doesn’t sound like a right thing to do or does it?

But guess what, that’s exactly what’s happening in most organisations. So, how do we make the process more dynamic while making the content more valuable? The process will require a little bit of effort, but trust me it will pay off. I have curated a list of “Do’s” which might provide you some direction, if you are willing to take this daring path as well.

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1. CURATE AND CREATE:
Why do the work alone? Involve the teams and you could be shooting for the stars. Expertise comes with experience. If you are about to generate content which is specific to a certain domain, why not get the content from the ones who actually do the work. This will provide more light and defined opinions about the topic being spoken about. It also helps skip the research and helps design more optimised content. Better knowledge of keywords, automatically comes with enhanced learning of a certain subject.

For example, you are about to write a piece on the latest technology advancements that your product has undergone. You might be aware of the changes at a superficial level but your buddies from the technical team would definitely be able to give you detailed insights. Why not make use of that then writing yet another generic piece of junk that nobody would read!

2. CUSTOMISE YOUR CONTENT:

Before going ahead with actually creating content, it is important to define the audience. Ask yourself the question, who are you writing for? If you have successfully defined your audience, you would realise that there are three types of audiences you cater to: 1. the general public and 2. Your clients and customers 3. Your prospects. All the audience groups, desire different types of content and it’s only fair to not shove unnecessary content in their faces.

Your general audience, isn’t looking for industry jargon or details of a report that your company has the capability to design. They are looking for generic content which can help increase their knowledge about a certain domain. On the other hand, your clients/customers/prospects are more concerned about how your company can benefit them, what your company’s stance in the market is or what the latest developments in your company are.

In fact, it’s even better if you can figure out the pain areas of your prospects/clients and provide them with content which talks about the same and possibly provides remedies as well. Who doesn’t wish for some good done at no cost!

3. SPREAD THE WORD:
Once your content is ready, it is time to get it out for criticism. But how do you make sure that your content is feeding maximum minds? Not every one of them would be an avid reader or not all of them would be willing to watch you 2 minute long, 15 slider presentation! This calls for being a good usherer and catering to all their needs as and where they wish for it. This can be easily achieved by making use of multiple mediums. For example, if you are a clothing brand and you have launched a latest line of clothing, where could you possibly talk about it? Create a video ad, get a celebrity blogger to write about your clothing line, promote on social media, display newspaper and magazine ads, create a radio jingle and the options are endless!

More popularly known as 360 degree communication, is what you need to really do. If you manage to get your marketing right, there’s no stopping you.

4. MIX AND MATCH:
All work and no fun can make life boring, same goes when it comes to content. You need to make sure that your audience stays interested in what you publish. If you inject them with similar content, all the time, it definitely gets boring. The solution is just like cooking an Indian dish, add some “masala” to your content.

Let me give you an example, if you are a technology based firm and you are constantly writing posts (blogs and other forms of content) related to the latest technology in the market or how your company has been advancing in the same field, it might start to get boring at some point. If you find an alternative and start writing about more fun topics, like how to add a funky look to your office or how to exercise while you work on those tedious codes, you could be attracting another set of minds to your readership group.

This in fact not just increases your content’s reach but also in some way adds to your marketing benefits. As they say, no advertising is bad advertising.

5. PERSONALISE:
Your content is craving for attention, if you can find yet another way to grab some, why not make use of it? One of the nicer ways of doing it would be by adding a personal touch to your marketing strategy. Oh no, I don’t mean targeted marketing here. Let me explain. You design content for various audience groups, existing customers/clients, prospects and general audience as mentioned earlier. However, since not everyone is interested in reading all forms of content, how about you segregate the content and make it simpler for them.

For example, add a pop up login section to your website, especially for your clients/prospects, who would like to know deeper details about your brand. Add an easy sign up option and the next time they need to browse your content, they know exactly where to go!

Brands, Hashtags, Instagram Marketing and more!

Instagram has upped the social game over the last two years and has evolved from being a simple photo sharing platform to a full-fledged marketing platform. The statistics for Instagram has changed drastically as marketers realized its potential.

Instagram worked significantly well for most fashion brands and food tech companies. In fact, according to a recent study, more than 95% of US based fashion brands are on Instagram. Another predictive analysis has also revealed that the number of brands registered on Instagram (overall) will rise from over 48% to more than 70%.

This brings us to the question, why are brands really using Instagram? The answer is the huge user base and the platform’s usage itself. Hashtags are the new cool, and Instagram for sure is acing the hashtag game! So much so, that it has even overtaken Twitter over the last year. It might be hard to believe, but Instagram’s performance has been better than all other social media platforms. According to a study by Brandwatch, engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.

This brings us to the question, are brands interacting with their customers on Instagram? The Instagram use-base is a whopping 500 million and only a mere 8% of this is not a constant user. Among this, maximum users are from the age group of less than 35 years. Interestingly, that is also the target audience for most brands (the earning population as well as the tech savvy one).

It has been long understood that visual content works best when it comes to marketing your product/content. Instagram therefore is one of the major places to be in while trying to promote your brand. However, it is equally important to understand your marketing goals and how to drive the same on a platform like Instagram.

Why and How?

If your aim is to increase awareness around your brand/products, you need to have a large following. Make sure that your audience is organic, this helps in making sure that your audience is genuinely interested in you and eventually, them being there would help you understand your audience segments in the future, strategically target your campaigns and finally increase your sales. This also requires you being present at the right places. “Hashtags” can be a great way to achieve this. There is always more power to your campaigns, when you run them with a certain hashtag. Another way to gain attention is by being present in the most common hashtag areas.

Creating visually appealing content, with call to action is a must. Host a contest, arrange a competition or run a campaign. This helps in increasing interaction with your customers and also increasing brand awareness, which eventually increases your followers count. To make your campaigns more successful, cross promote them on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Also create an alert for your mailing list, if you get lucky they might just promote your campaign as well.

What’s next?

If your customers are on Instagram, they definitely have a lot of questions to ask. Are you simply posting on Instagram or are you also responding to those messages? Whether it is a complaint, a query or for that matter even an exclamation your audience should feel that they are being heard. Your Instagram audience is just like your girlfriend (or boyfriend), you are in a two way relationship and it goes beyond just striking the conversation and responding to their comments. Look at the bigger picture and nurture the relationship with personalized content/offers to make them feel special.

BONUS!

Don’t ever forget to reward your contest winners! They hate it when they make an effort and do not get appreciated for it.

Monitor and Measure

So, you have run a very visibly successful campaign and wish to see how it has actually performed. Here’s where social media monitoring tools come handy. While not all tools have the capability to measure all of Instagram, some tools do have the capability to do “hashtag tracking”. This allows a brand to understand how the hashtag you put your money on has performed and also derive meaningful insights, like how popular was it, who were a part of the audience which interacted with your brand, which gender your brand performs better with and the like. Benchmark against your competition to understand your market stance against them.

Are you an #instagrammer yet?

Why Online Reputation Management is critical for growth?

The concept of Online Reputation Management is still confusing for a lot of people. Most tend to confuse this concept with social media monitoring/analytics and a lot of them tend to mix it up with Public Relations. What most people fail to understand, are the dynamics of ORM, which is widely divided into two main dimensions namely engagement based ORM and customer support based ORM.

The difficult part about reputation management is that it is determined by your customers more than your efforts. However, it is in the company’s hands to make sure that your brand is perceived in a positive manner. Along with great actual service, making sure that every negative conversation about your brand is dealt immediately can help increase the positivity around your brand.

Let’s understand what Online Reputation Management means!

Google your brand. What do you read about yourself on the first page results of Google? Is it good or 9 out of 10 posts about your brand is negative? This is what determines your online reputation. If most conversations about your brand has been mentioned positively, you are a likeable brand and have a good brand reputation online.

On the other hand if your brand has been spoken negatively about in most cases, your brand’s reputation needs repair. This can be achieved by monitoring the brand’s online activities and the way people are reacting to the same. In case of negative conversations about your brand immediate actions to curb the problem should be taken.

In addition to googling your brand, try searching your brand name on Twitter or Facebook, do you see any difference? Twitter and Facebook are becoming increasingly relevant compared with Google for finding out what people think about your brand. This is because Twitter and Facebook are more real-time than Google.

But why do you need Online Reputation Management?

Selling on Internet has changed over the past years. From a top down approach, where customers could only purchase online and not share their experiences, the increasing use of social media has led to a market scenario where selling is led by customer choices. In fact it wouldn’t be wrong if we say that each customer is being paid attention personally by customizing communications to suit their time and place of availability.

With so much investment going in to reach each customer, losing even one can affect the company’s business. Therefore, online reputation management! It helps keep track of what each customer/prospect is talking about your brand and allows you to interact with them directly. This also helps in taking care of your unhappy customers and responding to them immediately to solve their problem and reducing the negative comments/reviews about your brand.

How to perform good online reputation management?

The best way to make sure that you do not miss out on any conversations about your brand is to use an ORM tool. These tools help track all conversations that involve your brand, unless it is a private conversation or a post where your brand has not been directly tagged (these are limitations from the social media platform’s end).

The basic “mantra” to amazing ORM is the “Track, Respond and Resolve” philosophy. Good social monitoring tools can, not just track mentions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like but also identify conversations on various review sites/discussion forums and more.

A dedicated team who are experts in the customer relationship management field should be deployed to take care of any form of negative conversation instantly. This not just increases customer satisfaction rate but also reduces the chances of the negativity spreading further.

Examples of Bad Online Reputation Management  

Social media is a place for the smarts! Your customers are extremely vulnerable and are prone to get hurt even with the slightest amount of criticism. Some companies, in the past have goofed up when it came to handling customer criticism/feedback. Well, you might have an extremely creative and sarcastic giant sleeping inside you, ready to slash back every time a customer speaks badly about you. But, it is best you gulp your ego and be polite! Here are a few examples of how companies suffered great loses financially and reputation wise when it came to handling online conversations.

  1. 1. Nestle: When Nestle suffered the “Palm Oil” related crisis (related to use of palm oil that was picked from deforested areas), people started complaining in masses. This was also accompanied by creation of tarnished images of the Nestle logo and putting it up as the profile picture by many. Here’s how Nestle reacted to the same and fell trap to something unimaginable. In the end they had to shut down their social media channel! Sigh!

 

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2. Dark Horse Espresso: Being nice to your customers causes no harm! When a customer is complaining about an experience they have had, it is best to be kind to them and apologize. This leads to making the customer feel more comfortable and also important. About Dark Horse Espresso, when a customer complained about insufficient electric outlets in a rather busy coffee shop, this is what the company came back with. Dark Horse, you could have done better!

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3. British Airways: For a service that operates 24/7 and deals with strict time schedules, it is necessary that their customer support operates round the clock as well. How easily they tell a customer who has a midnight flight that they do not operate beyond a certain time limit and hence their problem can be solved only after! Top aggravate the anger, British Airways also responded with canned messages which left the customers bitterly angry. Here’s what happened:

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Examples of Good Online Reputation Management
1. Flipkart: They might have goofed up in the past or while running a large scale campaign, however over time this company has learned to play the game smartly. For a company that receives huge number of billing or logistics related issues on a daily basis, Flipkart is actually doing a commendable job. Prompt responses (within 5 to 10 mins), promising results, taking the conversation offline to avoid further damage and providing faster resolution this company does it all. What helps them respond faster is also their specified twitter handle for customer support, which not just helps segregating the messages for ease of response but also keeps the negativity away from their actual marketing page (the face of the company). Kudos to you Flipkart!

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2. Air Asia: Even an angry tweet can be addressed with good care and can be converted into a wonderful conversation! Air Asia goes out to prove that immediate responses which are polite and informative can actually solve the problem with ease. Unlike British Airways, Air Asia responds to each customer with individual attention and hence performs better!

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3. Amazon: Calm, confident and adding a personal touch always works. Amazon uses this innovative way of adding the name of the representative at the end of every tweet. This adds a friendly touch to the tweet and avoids the mundane canned form of tweeting.

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4. Paytm: Although Paytm is comparatively a new brand, they still boast an amazing social customer support domain. Along with providing fast responses, they also follow back to make sure the customer’s problem has actually been resolved or not.

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Few Things to Understand about Online Reputation Management

1. Apologize: If it is a mistake from the company’s end it is best to apologize for the same at the earliest. Generally when a brand makes a mistake, it is picked up at the speed of light and before you know the news has spread to cause enough damage to the brand. However it is recommended that to maintain honesty and transparency, the brand apologizes and if possible even cover up for the same by giving the customer some special offer/gift or the like.

For example, when a lady tweeted about her unhappy experience with US Airways, she was not just ignored in the beginning but was also humiliated by posting an inappropriate picture along with their apologetic tweet. This made the airways seem sarcastic and unapologetic and let to a huge uproar among its existing customers and prospects. However, better late than never, US airways cleared the air by apologizing for the same over a tweet and a spokesperson also came forward to explain how the whole process happened due to the mistake of an executive.

2. Hacking: Being careful about your account credentials is something that no company can ignore. This should be backed up by high security anti-virus software, unbreachable firewall for the database and more. Competitor brands are constantly fishing to spoil your reputation. Here’s an example: Burger King’s twitter account was hacked and their logo and handle name were changed to McDonalds. Burger King however, got lucky and gained 10,000 new followers! They sure owe the hacker a huge burger and some fries!

On a serious note such hacking can be dangerous as most come with the intention to tarnish the image of the brand. Burger King reduced the damage by identifying the problem fast and resolving the same.

3. Negative Publicity: It is often said that no form of publicity is bad publicity, however increasing the number of followers by doing something negative does not work all the time! Negative publicity is generally used by celebrities (who are a brand in themselves) mostly. For example: Miley Cyrus did a series of publicity stunt videos/photoshoots with inappropriate dressing and also made public appearances which was not appreciated by the masses. However, this worked in favor of her by increasing her publicity and making her more famous than she ever was.

This philosophy might not work the same way for brands (companies), considering people invest money and trust when they become the customer of a particular brand. In fact, it might reciprocate in an opposite manner and lead to huge losses for the brand.

4. Social Monitoring: Your audience is spread across various social media platforms and it is not enough to simply keep track of Facebook, Twitter and the other popular social platforms. To make sure that you have 360 degree monitoring in place it is necessary to keep track of various review sites, hate sites and on page reviewing(ecommerce sites). These are the places where people tend to rate your products and give detailed descriptions about their bad experiences. According to a research conducted by BrightLocal, 88% of consumers reading online reviews trust them as much as they trust personal recommendations.

The solution to reduce such reviews is formerly to provide impeccable service. Another solution to the same is reaching out to people who review your products negatively on these sites and trying to redirect the same to a personal conversation.

5. Response Time: Understanding which message requires attention and which doesn’t is an important phenomenon to decide which mention requires immediate attention and which does not. However, if a matter is serious and ignored it might lead to a crisis situation and also cause losses to the brand.

A classic example for this would be the Dominos video prank crisis where an employee posted the video of a fellow employee sticking cheese up his nose and putting it on a sandwich later, which was accompanied by text which briefly read that it would be served to someone in the next five minutes and they would be eating it. Although the seniors in the company were made aware about the same, they waited for the CEO to fly down after 24 hours and address the issue. A lot of damage was done to the brand both financially and reputation wise by then, which could have been easily saved by taking down the video and apologizing for the same.

Dealing with Illegal Attacks

1. Increasing SEO: Your company might have received a number of negative reviews and negative mentions on competitor brand supporter blogs/articles. This will lead to a bad first image, with number of negative mentions, when people google your brand name. To avoid this, it is necessary to increase your SEO on the positive elements. Making sure that all the positive articles appear on the first page along with your company’s landing page and the like is only possible with flawless content optimization.

2. Removing Negative Content: Differentiating between genuine complaints and spam content is extremely important to reduce negativity around your brand. Your competitors might have adopted the technique of putting down competition by spreading bad word about you. It is necessary to identify such content/reviews and removing them before they gets shared by your customers. It is however important to make sure that genuine reviews are not deleted in the process as it might backfire and lead to the rise of another negative tide against your brand.

3. Online Investigation: Some reputation management cases might get extremely difficult and might require intervention of technical experts in cyber investigation. Skilled online investigators and analysts can track people from more than just social media, i.e. through email investigation, data cross investigation and more. This allows reaching the root of any cyber infringement and eventually solving difficult reputation management cases, which might require legal intervention.

If your company is not already doing Online Reputation Management, it is high time you started. There are a number of tools in the market which enables easy ORM through a simplified platform which also gives you deeper understanding of your company’s online performance.
Do leave your comments about any doubts or additions you would like to make.

10 Step Guide to Preparing Online Reputation Management Report

Online Reputation Management (ORM) has become an integral part of customer servicing in today’s date, however, many marketers still fail to understand how not doing it properly can negatively affect the company’s business. In fact a lot of sales (up-selling, cross-selling and even new prospects) are now dependent on how well a company interacts with their customers. “Word of mouth”, which is known to be one of the most effective ways of doing marketing, can be achieved using social media.

Measuring the performance on social media is another important aspect. While running a marketing campaign and measuring its performance seems to be a simpler task, reporting related to ORM can be pretty challenging. In fact it is in many ways different from the general reporting. With ORM, it is not just the performance of the brand that comes under consideration, but also aspects like how positively or negatively the brand has been spoken about, what are the high priority issues faced by the customers, what time of the day do the customers talk about your brand the most, what is the response time your servicing agents are taking to respond to messages online, and the list continues.

Here, I will take you through the entire process of generating an explicit Online Reputation Management report.

1. If you are a big brand and you are handling customer service on social media, you must be using a CRM platform, which helps track the people who are complaining or raising queries about your product/service and replying to them. If the platform in use also allows you to generate reports, it might be helpful.

2. Reporting is a tedious process; it requires generation figurative estimates and graphical representations for all aspects. The basic requirements being, total mentions, total number of cases responded to and the total number or actions taken/cases closed successfully.

Total Mention for Online Reputation Management

Total Mentions for Online Reputation Management

3. The next step is to identify the days/time frames when there was an increase in the conversations about your brand, which should also be backed with data about what led to the increase in conversation. (This can be food for thought for the marketing team)

4. Your report should also contain the sentiment perception towards your brand, i.e. whether your brand is being talked positively/negatively about, which should be presented in graphical representations providing percentage representations for each.

Online Reputation Management Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment Analysis Graph

5. Along with providing what is being spoken about, your report should also be able to tell you who is speaking about you and where. Influencers (people with a higher following, like celebrities) and people who complain repetitively (who might also be spammers) should be identified for further actions.

Social Media Mention Distribution

Social Media Mention Distribution

6. A categorically divided list of complaint types and the issues/topics being spoken about during a particular time frame helps understand where the brand is going and how successful are the marketing initiatives of the brand turning out to be.

7. Measuring the performance of your agents is another important aspect of reporting. Measuring in terms of how many messages were responded to by each agent as well as whose performance is better based on the number of errors made/responses made, helps in future internal endeavors of the company.

This should be coupled with the average time taken to respond to messages and the first response time, in comparison to competitor brands.

8. ORM reports should help the brand managers understand the perception of the brand, by their customers, better. Hence it should also provide detailed analysis of which form of content/strategy is working best for them and what can be the other variations that the brand can adopt based on competitor analysis.

competitor analysis

Competitor Analysis Graph

9. As much as it is important to understand the brand it is equally important to also understand the fans. This can be done through gender analysis and generating a count about which fan is talking the most about your brand.

10. Another important aspect of reporting is to provide suggestions and guidelines to the brand about what strategy/content is in trend and helping competitors garner better attention. This can help the marketing team of the brand understand the market better and hence design their future campaigns based on the inputs provided by the report.

A complete Online Reputation Management report contains both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the brand, helping develop effective strategies for future campaigns.

4 Ways to Differentiate Between Traditional and Social CRM

Traditional CRM to Social CRM

Engaging with customers is one of the most important aspects to maintain a good brand name. It is also one of the major issues that most companies find challenging. However, the customer relationship aspect of business is constantly evolving and the shift from “Traditional CRM” to “Social CRM” has taken “customer relationship management” as a concept and practice to a whole new level.

Here’s a glimpse at how the process has evolved and changed a lot for the good and a little for the bad as well.

1. Communication has now become a two way process. Reaching a company is much easier, thanks to the various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. A process which was traditionally focused on the company directing sales/marketing related content to their customers/prospects from a prerecorded set of data has now changed to a dynamic process where customers reach the company as and when they want.

This transformation is huge and a significant one as, the communication process which was predominantly brand driven has now shifted to being customer driven. More power to the public!

2. The focus has shifted from being sales driven to building relationships. Brands today have come to realize that it is the pool of returning customers which needs to be targeted and retained. A good “word of mouth” is company’s concern today. Retaining customers and keeping them happy is what social CRM has largely enabled.

Using platforms like Facebook and Twitter, companies can reach out to their customers which highly engaging content and also address their issues in public. This helps build transparency of the brand and also makes the brand more humane. If you have already connected the dots, social media has helped build a relationship between the brands and their customers, which eventually results in more loyal and returning customers, brand advocates and some free marketing!

3. Traditional CRM was a process, whereas Social CRM is a strategy. Traditional CRM practices involved a canned mechanism to make phone calls, send email messages or attend live meetings with existing customers and prospects. This has evolved to a more relaxed process with customers engaging in more personalized conversations with brands through social media.

This not just helps in building a better relationship with the customers but also enriches the brands customer data, which helps in targeting the marketing initiatives better.

4. The difference between Traditional CRM and Social CRM can be distinctly differentiated based on the software used. Traditional CRM tools were only focused at recording and processing information for direct communication, namely contact number, e mail address, mailing address and the like. It also had a limited capacity to record historical data; only data related to communication between the brand and the customer.

This has shifted drastically with the invention of software that could track their customer’s social behavior. This allowed the brands to understand their customer needs and interests better and serve them accordingly. It also allowed giving a more personalized direction to every communication with customers based on their interests.

From an unorganized dump of information about customers, i.e. traditional CRM, social CRM has moved to gathering and managing customer information into more strategically divided groups.This has not just helped in engaging with customers better but also increased each brands potential to spread a good word of mouth.

How Does Social CRM Help Boost Your SALES

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Until recently the limitations of CRM were higher than the benefits derived out of it. With evolution of better technology, the processes have reached a highly automated level. Many functions which required hours of dedicated manual labor can now be performed automatically by a single tool.

When social CRM was still in its budding phase, its operations were limited to listening and providing customer service on various social media platforms. However, lately its use for enhancing sales has become the talk of the town and intelligent case routing techniques has made its application simpler. The constant CRM developments have made it possible to leverage social media collated data to effectively channel sales activities and integrate them with other functions.

Approach 1:

Sales as an operation does not function singularly and needs to be constantly backed by the company’s/brand’s marketing efforts. A CRM tool can be used to keep track of any form of communication happening from the brand’s end or even otherwise.

The tool should be fed with sets of rules to segregate and trigger various workbaskets depending on the type of message received. This can e easily achieved by feeding the tool a list of commonly used terms, based on which the messages get segregated and delivered to the destined team. This can be used as a cue by the “Sales” team to keep track of people showing interest in the home product as well as competitor brands.

Once the target markets/individual targets have been discovered, they should be approached, initially using more subtle ways. Here’s a list of steps to be followed:

1. Following the prospect and their background, i.e. the industry size they are seeking solution for, the industry type, their possible budget and more.

2. This can be accompanied by certain representative from the company should approach the prospect personally and probe them to answer questions. More the number of questions they answer better you understand their needs/requirements.

3. This can be supported by the company pushing content which is targeted at solving the prospect’s problems. For this to happen, the brand needs to do their homework well, by tracking the prospects social media presence, their preferred place for communication, the space they use the most and the like.

4. A sales representative step in at this time and talk to them about how they can provide solutions to the prospects problems and how are they better than the rest of the solutions in the market.

5. However, one needs to approach them only during the stage when the prospect is actually looking for solutions. (There are a lot of people who generally talk/discuss issues but might not be seeking solutions)

This brings us to the question, how do we reach these prospects. This is a collaborative effort of social media listening as well as advertising (both online and offline) and research by the brand’s sales team. A good CRM tool can make all the above mentioned stages much simpler.

Approach 2:

Today’s is a fast paced world and if not followed stringently, one might easily lose out on prospects. Modern ways of doing business requires easy identification of problems and even faster ways of providing solutions. Enabling a CRM tool can help listen to conversations where your brand is being spoken about or in this case, when a prospect is looking out for a solution your brand provides.

Most companies miss out on opportunities due to lack of visibility of key customer areas which can be eventually converted into positive sales prospects. CRM tools help keep your customer/ lead details updated by identifying potential areas and routing it to designated workbaskets.

This approach can be collaborated with other marketing campaigns to initiate a decision making process for the prospect, by citing examples of existing case studies/clients with similar problems and sharing their successful experience stories.

Just to clear the air of doubts, this is no way means promoting any form of stalking activities. CRM tools only provide data which can be otherwise publicly viewed, except this is a congregation of hundreds of selective data.

7 Guidelines to Provide Great Customer Service on Social Media

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If customer service had to be described in 3 words, for sure “fast”, “appropriate” and “satisfactory” would top the list. Customer service has actually reached a state where companies can no longer keep it in the back seat, in fact as most companies today mention; it has become the backbone of many processes and areas of functionality. Be it marketing or sales or for that matter the product/brand’s personality as a whole, all these are dependent on how people perceive and receive your brand.

According to research conducted in the past by various platforms, customer’s reaction towards a brand, depend mainly on two aspects, namely, product quality and the quality of customer service received. So, what exactly is the ‘mantra’ for great customer service? It’s pretty simple, reach your customers instantly, add in a bit of personal touch and solve their problems by deploying a smooth process!

The dawn of social media has changed people’s outlook not just towards shopping but also their pre sales and post sales experiences. People talk to their peers before purchasing a product and what better place to get opinions than social media, where the people from across the world are ready to give an opinion. What’s interesting is the post sales procedure, where people express their happiness about the purchased product or how bad the experience was! Here’s where your Social Media Customer Service team needs to jump in, to avoid any extreme situations. It is very possible that you “chose” to ignore a complaint made by any of your customers via Twitter; you might not be ready for the situation, but it has already gone viral!

So, here’s what a Manager needs to teach his/her Social Customer Service Agents for excellent after effects:

1. BE THE CUSTOMER: Treat your customers just the way you would like to be treated. Every customer service agent is also a customer at the end of the day, therefore standing in the customer’s shoes is pretty easy. Respond to them in exactly the same way how you would like to be responded to if you were complaining about a product and half the problem is solved. What matters the most, is the first response received by the customer.

2. MAKE IT QUICK: People hate waiting in queue, be it actually standing at the billing counter at a hypermarket or waiting on hold for their turn to come so they can speak to the customer service agent. People therefore have found a solution for themselves. All the people who are on various social media channels today complain using this platform. This being said, the expectations of people to receive a reply are also as fast as a maximum of 1 hour. Therefore companies who have achieved a first response time of about 5 minutes record highly satisfied customers.

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3. ADD A PERSONAL TOUCH: All customers love to be pampered, therefore adding a dear or a good morning to your message might actually help calm down a certainly angry customer. This also makes the customer feel that you are actually listening to their problems and do not consider you a machine which is simply shooting messages even without reading the complaint. This reduces the risk of continuous complaints from them which also reduce the chance that many people would see the complaint avoiding chances of virality. Also do not forget to leave your name at the end!

4. DO NOT ARGUE: Your customer might be completely wrong and might still be shouting at you for bad service, you still cannot answer them back with foul/horrific words. Be the patient one and respond to their complaints with proof and reasoning. Explaining them the situation might actually help calming them down rather than fighting with them. This will also help create a good image among the rest of the customers who might stand up for you as well.

5. SAY THANK YOU: People always love that extra effort put in to make them feel special. Adding a thank you for a compliment or generally for sharing the problem can help reduce the tension between the customer and the company. They feel more welcomed and hence are willing to co-operate until you solve their problem.

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6. SOLVE THE PROBLEM: Do not leave a case unattended or half attended just because you do not have the solution instantly. Make sure to reach out to a senior or someone in the management who can take care of it. This makes the customer feel important. Keep them informed about each step/process and they will be willing to wait that extra minute without complaining. For all you know, they might even leave a few kind words adding to your company’s charm!

7. REFER BEFORE YOU REPLY: You might have a returning customer at your disposal, someone who has complained in the past and has also shared their details. Keeping track of historical data and referring to them before replying to the customer can help understand their problem better. A reply which says “We have your contact details and we will look into the issue on priority” instead of “Please share your contact details for further assistance” always sounds better. The customer has lesser work to do and so do you.

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Disclaimer: All the images displayed above are from the official handles of the respective companies. The examples mentioned above are not Simplify360’s clients.